Self-taught MFA

How to Organize a Poetry Manuscript via Diane Lockward

A big thank you to Diane Lockward for posting all this incredible information and help for poetry manuscript ordering and organization! Her post includes her own suggestions for how to avoid pitfalls with your first manuscript and links to several excellent articles.

“Many poets, especially those working on a first manuscript, fall prey to the topical arrangement. That is, they put all related poems in the same section—a section for poems about birds, another for poems about vegetables, another for poems about dogs, and so on. So what’s wrong with that? It’s tedious for the reader, for one thing. Such an organization deprives the reader of one of the greatest pleasures of reading a poetry book, i.e., surprise.”

She also mentions that her press Terrapin Books will reopen for submissions on January 22 through the end of February.

You may also want to check out my list of No Fee Poetry Book Publishers and No Fee Chapbook Publishers.

Click below to read the complete article:

Manuscript Organization

You may also want to check out her recent publication The Crafty Poet II, a poetry workshop type book with prompts and lessons meant to inspire poets.

“A follow-up to Diane Lockward’s 2013 book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, this second volume guides poets seeking to transform their practice through practical steps such as revising the creative process; selecting and refining diction, syntax, and sound; and completing final revisions. Each of the ten sections thoroughly explores and discusses craft tips provided by an experienced poet (Ellen Bass, Ada Limon, Dean Young, and others) and includes illuminating sample poems and related writing prompts.”


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